Menendez is accused of a brazen bribery plot involving cash and gold.

Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was accused on Friday of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including gold bullion bars, to wield authority both overseas and at home.

The three-count federal indictment detailed a brazen scheme devised during covert meals, text messages, and encrypted phone calls, much of which targeted expanding US funding to Egypt and assisting businesspeople in New Jersey.

American-Egyptian businessman:

According to the indictment, Mr. Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, is accused of working as a go-between, sending communications to an American-Egyptian businessman, Wael Hana, who maintained strong relationships with Egyptian military and intelligence personnel.

In one letter to an Egyptian commander, Mr. Hana referred to the senator in charge of military sales, finance, and other help as “our man.”In a stinging blow to prosecutors, Mr. Menendez stated that the case would be “successfully resolved once all of the facts are presented.”

The allegations filed on Friday detailed a merging of bare-knuckle, back-room machinations in Mr. Menendez’s home state of New Jersey with sensitive security issues in the Middle East. They are the latest chapter in Mr. Menendez’s decades-long political career, which has taken him from the Union City, New Jersey, school board to the corridors of the Senate, a career characterized by allegations of corruption and a previous federal prosecution, a career marred by allegations of corruption and a prior federal conviction that resulted in a hung jury.

The fresh allegations jeopardize Mr. Menendez’s considerable political leverage as well as his freedom.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, a close Democratic friend, called on Mr. Menendez to quit, sparking a flood of similar comments from political leaders throughout the state. He reiterated that he would not listen to them. “I’m not going anywhere,” he stated in a statement Friday evening.

Mr. Menendez did write a letter to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate majority leader, alerting him that he was standing aside as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as required by Senate Democratic rules.

The indictment claims that the corruption plan went beyond international aid. He is accused of influencing criminal investigations against two other New Jersey businessmen, one of whom was a long-time fund-raiser for Mr. Menendez.

According to the indictment, He urged that President Biden appoint a lawyer, Philip R. Sellinger, to be U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey because he felt he might influence Mr. Sellinger’s prosecution of the fund-raiser. Prosecutors said that Mr. Sellinger, who was eventually confirmed for the position, refused to budge.

According to the indictment:

He is also accused of interfering with a New Jersey attorney general’s office probe, allegedly using “advice and pressure” to convince a top prosecutor to drop charges against two acquaintances of a man who gifted Ms. Menendez a Mercedes-Benz convertible. According to the indictment, the prosecutor deemed Mr. Menendez’s behavior “inappropriate” and refused to interfere.

According to the indictment, the senator and his wife took cash, gold, mortgage payments, a luxury automobile, and other expensive items in exchange for all of these activities. According to the accusation, Mr. Menendez inquired on the internet “How much is one kilo of gold worth” the day after his trip to Egypt in 2021.

At a press conference announcing the accusations, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that Mr. Menendez’s activities were intended to benefit a select few.

The prosecutor stated that Mr. Menendez’s Senate website expressly stated the kind of services he would not perform because they would be inappropriate, including influencing private business problems and meddling in judicial issues and criminal proceedings.

“Constituent service is an important part of any legislator’s job, and Senator He is no exception,” Mr. Williams added. But, he claimed, “behind the scenes, Senator Menendez was doing those things for certain people — the people who were bribing him and his wife.”

Soon after the press conference, Mr. Menendez published a passionate page-long repudiation of the claims, blaming them on unidentified “forces behind the scenes” that had “repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave.”

“The excesses of these prosecutors are obvious,” he remarked. “They have misrepresented the normal work of a congressional office.” On top of that, they have targeted my wife for long-standing friendships she had before she and I ever met.”

Ms. Menendez’s attorney, David Schertler, stated that his client had committed no laws.

“Mrs. Menendez denies any criminal conduct and will vigorously contest these charges in court,” Mr. Schertler added.

The allegations against  69, and the others come after a protracted investigation by the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and they come nearly six years after his trial on separate corruption charges ended in a hung jury.

Halal meat certification business:

The New York F.B.I.’s James Smith said Friday that the indictment “damages the public’s faith in our system of government and brings undue scorn to the honest and dedicated public servants who carry out their duties daily.”

Mr. Hana, a longtime friend of Ms. Menendez who founded a halal meat certification business; Fred Daibes, a New Jersey real estate developer and fund-raiser for Mr. Menendez; and Jose Uribe, who works in trucking and insurance, are among the businessmen named in the indictment, which was unsealed in Manhattan federal court.

The 39-page indictment charged the senator, his wife, and the businesspeople with conspiracy to conduct bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. It also accuses Him and his wife of conspiracy to conduct extortion under the color of official right, which means they exploited his official position to coerce someone to pay them something of value.

According to the accusation, Ms. Menendez boasted on one occasion that her activities would make Mr. Hana “more powerful than the president of Egypt.”

Ms. Menendez, 56, and Mr. Hana planned meetings and dinners with Egyptian officials and Mr. Menendez, whom she had recently begun seeing, in 2018. There, Egyptian authorities made proposals for foreign weapons sales and funding, among other things.

According to the indictment, Mr. Hana pledged to place he on his payroll in a job where she would do little or no work in exchange for Mr. Menendez’s assurance that he would assist with such purchases.

After one meeting with Egyptian officials, Mr. Menendez got nonpublic information from the State Department concerning the number and nationality of employees working at the US Embassy in Egypt. It is noted that such information is very sensitive, and its publication might jeopardize security.

He texted the information to Ms. Menendez, who shared it with Mr. Hana. According to the accusation, he subsequently forwarded it to an Egyptian official.

He revealed other nonpublic information concerning US military aid to Mr. Hana at a meal around the same time, according to the accusation. Mr. Hana then texted another Egyptian official, saying, “The ban on small arms and ammunition in Egypt has been lifted.”

That implies sales can commence. Among other things, these will include sniper rifles. The indictment also revealed Ms. Menendez and Mr. Hana’s tight ties with Egyptian officials. According to the accusation, He  once met in his Senate office with Ms. Menendez, Mr. Hana, and an Egyptian intelligence officer to discuss a human rights issue impacting aid to the nation.

Later that evening, the party went to a restaurant in Washington for supper.

Mr. Hana founded IS EG Halal in 2019, and within a year, the Egyptian government designated it as the sole institution permitted to certify that halal meat imported to Egypt from anywhere in the world had been processed by Islamic law.

When a “high-level” official at the United States Department of Agriculture argued that the monopoly endangered U.S. interests, Mr. Menendez phoned the official and demanded “that the U.S.D.A. stop opposing IS EG Halal’s status as sole halal certifier,” according to the indictment.

Menendez is accused of a brazen bribery plot involving cash and gold.
| By The Bakersfield Californian

The halal firm supplied money from which Mr. Hana “could make good on the bribe payments he had promised,” according to the indictment.

Mr. Hana also obtained assistance from Mr. Daibes and Mr. Uribe, the other businesspeople indicted in the investigation, in making payments to Ms. Menendez. Ms. Menendez complained to her husband in 2019 about not receiving the scheduled cheque.

“I am so upset,” she texted him, adding that Mr. Hana had failed to leave her an envelope. She inquired about texting Mr. Daibes, but the senator said, “No, you should not text or email.”

Ms. Menendez then phoned Mr. Daibes, and Mr. Hana’s company sent a $10,000 check to Ms. Menendez’s consulting firm.

Investigators discovered $550,000 in cash during a search of the couple’s home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and a safe deposit box in Ms. Menendez’s name, much of it stashed in clothing, closets, and a safe. Some cash was placed into envelopes that contained Mr. Daibes’ or his driver’s fingerprints or DNA.

Investigators also discovered more than $100,000 in gold bars, some of which were depicted in images in the indictment. According to Mr. Hana’s spokeswoman, an early investigation of the accusations revealed that “they have no merit.”

Mr. Daibes’ lawyer, Tim Donohue, stated that he was certain that Mr. Daibes would be “completely exonerated of all charges.”

According to Nicholas Biase:

A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York, He & his wife, and their three co-defendants are scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

The allegations are not the senator’s first run-in with the law. In 2015, He was charged with bribery in New Jersey in connection with what federal prosecutors described as a conspiracy between the senator and a rich eye doctor to exchange political favors for gifts totaling over $1 million, including luxury vacations in the Caribbean and campaign contributions. Mr. Menendez’s corruption trial concluded in a mistrial in November 2017 after the jury declared it was unable to reach a decision.

The judge eventually acquitted Mr. Menendez of some allegations, and the Justice Department dismissed the others.

The indictment on Friday reverberated in Washington and New Jersey, with members of the party and Congress calling on Mr. Menendez to resign. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a longtime supporter of Mr. Menendez’s, stayed mute on the claims and called for resignation.

Mr. Menendez has already indicated that he will seek re-election to a fourth Senate term, and the Republican mayor of Mendham Borough, N.J., has also announced that she will run. If Mr. Menendez resigned, as Mr. Murphy has suggested, the governor would appoint a replacement.

Menendez is accused of a brazen bribery plot involving cash and gold.
|By Fox News

“These are serious charges that jeopardize national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Mr. Murphy said in a statement.

The claimed facts are “so serious,” he stated, “that they jeopardize Senator Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of our state.”

Cash and fingerprints:

Nearly $500,000 in cash was discovered tucked into envelopes and secreted within the pockets of clothing hanging in the closets of Menendez’s house in Englewood Cliffs, including a large roll of bills in a jacket from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with Menendez’s name on it.

Prosecutors claimed fingerprints, DNA, and the return address of co-defendant Fred Daibes’ driver were discovered on at least one of the envelopes. “Thank you,” Nadine Menendez texted Daibes about January 24, 2022, according to the indictment. “Christmas in January.”

Patrice Schiano, a former FBI forensic accountant and current instructor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, called that “pretty damning.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s cash hidden in the house because if they take it to the bank, it’ll be reported,” Schiano added. “But that will be difficult to defend because any jury will say, ‘That’s a lot of money in the house.'”

Menendez’s wife will receive benefits:

The Mercedes-Benz was purchased for Menendez’s wife by two other co-defendants in the case, Jose Uribe and Wael Hana, in exchange for the senator interfering in a state criminal prosecution of a Uribe associate charged with insurance fraud and an investigation of a family member who worked for him, according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, Nadine Menendez texted Uribe, “You are a miracle worker who makes dreams come true.” “That is something I will always remember.”

According to prosecutors, Menendez also assisted Hana in obtaining military financing for Egypt in exchange for the promise of a no-show job for his wife.

Later, Nadine Menendez conveyed to her husband a request from an Egyptian official to revise a proposal to the United States Senate to approve $300 million in Egyptian funding.
According to the Justice Department, Menendez then “ghost-wrote the letter on behalf” of the Egyptians and sent it from his account to his wife’s email. She then sent the email to Hana. Menendez and his wife promptly erased the emails.

“Almost everyone in this digital age is at risk of having their digital lives revealed by law enforcement investigators,” said Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. “

The fact that someone who should have known better reportedly utilized a digital system to incriminate himself demonstrates how inescapable and normal it is to accomplish everything — illegal or not — through a trackable digital system.”

Gold bars:

Hana purchased 22 one-ounce gold bars two days after Menendez had a secret meeting with an Egyptian official.

Each one has a unique serial number. Prosecutors claimed two of them were subsequently discovered at Menendez’s residence by federal investigators.

They also learned that on January 29, 2022, Menendez performed a Google search for “a kilo of gold price.”

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